How To Create A Psychedelic Image

Apr 22, 2014

Oooooh.... Pretty!

I belong to a weekly photography group, where each week we have to submit photos based on a specific theme.  This past week's theme was "Abstract" and I wasn't sure what to submit.  After some brainstorming, I came across the idea to take an image and warp it beyond recognition in Photoshop.  

To start, all you need is an image with lines of various colors.  It doesn't even have to be a particularly good image.  I found some colored drinking straws around my house and took the photo below.  You can use anything you want to create these lines (pickup sticks, lines of Legos, etc.).  Just make sure that the lines fill the frame as in the picture below.

To  begin, open your photo in Photoshop.

Step 2:  

Once you have the photo loaded, create a copy of the layer.  There are several ways to do this.  One way is to go to Layer -> Duplicate Layer.  

Step 3

After you have created a duplicate for the layer, we're going to apply a shear filter.  Go to Filter -> Distort -> Shear.  

This will bring up the screen below:

Step 4:

Go to the grid in the Shear window.  Find the dot at the top of the grid (in the middle) and drag it all the way to the right.  

Then on the second horizontal line, click on the far left side of the grid.  

On the third line, click on the far right side.

On the fourth line, click again on the far left side of the grid.

Finally, on the fifth line, click on the right side again.  

As you're doing this, you should see the image distort in the preview window.  Once you're done distorting the image, click OK.  The result should be something like the image below.

Step 5:

Next we're going to rotate the image 90 degrees.  To do so, go to Image Rotation -> 90ยบ CW.  Once you do that, your Photoshop window should look like the image below:

Now, we're going to repeat steps 2-5 again.

a.  Create a duplicate layer 

b.  Apply the Shear filter (you won't have to re-do the grid... just click OK)

c.  Rotate the image 90 degrees again.

When you're done, your image should look like the one at right.

And again....

And again...

At this point, I'm happy with the image, so I just gave it one final rotation to put it back into landscape mode.  If you want, however, you can keep repeating steps 2-5 above until you get the image you want.

The last thing I did was add a Vibrance adjustment layer to make the colors pop out a bit more and... voila.. I have my image.

Do you have any questions?  Or is there a particular tutorial you would like to see?  Feel free to email me or leave a comment below.


Oooooh.... Pretty!
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